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HAI Glossary of Terms
- Acinetobacter - is a group of bacteria commonly found in soil and water. It can also be found on the skin of healthy people, especially healthcare personnel. Outbreaks of Acinetobacter infections typically occur in intensive care units and healthcare settings that house very ill patients. Acinetobacter infections rarely occur outside of healthcare settings. For more information about Acinetobacter, click here.
- Airborne Precautions - Airborne Precautions prevent transmission of infectious agents that remain infectious over long distances when suspended in the air (e.g., rubeola virus [measles], varicella virus [chickenpox], M. tuberculosis, and possibly SARS-CoV). The preferred placement for patients who require Airborne Precautions is in an airborne infection isolation room (AIIR). Healthcare personnel caring for patients on Airborne Precautions wear a mask or respirator that is donned prior to room entry. For more information on Airborne Precautions, click here.
- Antimicrobial Resistance - bacteria that have developed resistance to certain antibiotics. For more information on antimicrobial resistance, click here.
- Carbapenem-Resistant or Carbapenemase-Producing Enterobacteriaceae or CRE - a group of Gram-negative rod-shaped bacteria that are either resistant to carbapenem antibiotics or produce the enzyme carbapenemase.
- Carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella Pneumonia or CRKP - Klebsiella pneumonia is a type of gram-negative bacteria that can cause infections in healthcare settings, including pneumonia, bloodstream infections, wound or surgical site infections, and meningitis. Increasingly, Klebsiella bacteria have developed antibiotic resistance, most recently to the class of antibiotics known as carbapenemase. CRKP is considered a threat to patient safety because carbapenem antibiotics often are the last line of defense against gram-negative infections that are resistant to other antibiotics. For more information on CRKP, click here.
- Central Line - a long tube inserted in the neck, chest, arm or leg that ends near the heart. A central line is used to take blood samples, measure blood pressure, and give medications.
- Central Line-Associated Bloodstream Infection - an infection that spreads through the blood from its origin on a central line.
- Clostridium difficile or C. difficile - is a bacteria that causes diarrhea and more serious intestinal conditions such as colitis (inflammation of the large intestine/colon). People who have other illnesses or conditions requiring prolonged use of antibiotics and the elderly are at greater risk of acquiring this disease. The bacteria are found in the feces. People can become infected if they touch items or surfaces that are contaminated with feces and then touch their mouth or mucous membranes. Healthcare workers can spread the bacteria to other patients or contaminate surfaces through hand contact. for more information about C. difficile, click here.
- Community Acquired Infection - an infection acquired in the community outside of a healthcare setting (hospital, clinic, doctor's office, or home-care treatment by a health professional).
- Contact Precautions - Contact Precautions are intended to prevent transmission of infectious agents which are spread by direct or indirect contact with the patient or the patient's environment. For more information regarding Contact Precautions, click here.
- Cross-Infection - Infection of a patient with bacteria from another person.
- Droplet Precautions - Droplet Precautions are intended to prevent transmission of pathogens spread through close respiratory or mucous membrane contact with respiratory secretions. Infectious agents for which Droplet Precautions are indicated include: pertussis, influenza, adenovirus, rhinovirus, N. meningitides, and group A streptococcus (for the first 24 hours of antimicrobial therapy). For more information regarding Droplet Precautions, click here.
- Healthcare Associated Infection or HAI - are infections that patients acquire during the course of receiving treatment for other conditions within a healthcare setting. Healthcare-associated infections are one of the top ten leading causes of death in the United States. For more information on HAIs, click here.
- Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee or HICPAC - a federal advisory committee made up of 14 external infection control experts who provide advice and guidance to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regarding the practice of healthcare infection control, healthcare-associated infection surveillance, and healthcare-associated infection prevention and control. For more information about HICPAC, click here.
- Infection Control - collection of guidelines that pertain to keeping patients and healthcare workers in healthcare settings protected from infectious diseases. For more information on infection control, click here.
- Methicillan-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus or MRSA - is a type of staph bacteria that is resistant to certain antibiotics called beta-lactams (including: methicillin, oxacillin, penicillin, and amoxicillin). For more information about MRSA, click here.
- Multidrug-Resistant Organism or MDROs - bacteria that have become unusually resistant to many of the drugs that used to be effective against them. For more information on MDROs, click here.
- Nosocomial Infection - an infection that is hospital-associated or hospital-acquired.
- Sepsis - is a severe and even life-threatening illness that occurs when the bloodstream is overwhelmed by bacteria. Sepsis is caused by a bacterial infection that can begin anywhere in the body. Common places where an infection might start include: the bowel, kidneys, liver, gall bladder, lungs and skin. In hospitalized patients, common sites of infection include: IV lines, surgical wounds, surgical drains, and sites of skin breakdown (bedsores).
- Standard Precautions -Standard Precautions are a set of infection prevention practices that apply to all patients, regardless of suspected or confirmed infection status, in any setting in which healthcare is delivered. Standard Precaution practices include: hand hygiene; use of gloves, gown, mask, eye protection, or face shield, depending on the anticipated exposure; and safe injection practices. Equipment or items in the patient environment likely to have been contaminated with infectious body fluids must be handled in a manner to prevent transmission of infectious agents (e.g. wear gloves for direct contact, contain heavily soiled equipment, properly clean and disinfect or sterilize reusable equipment before use on another patient). For more information regarding Standard Precautions, click here.
- Ventilator - a complex machine that attached to a patients who cannot breathe on their own. The device pumps air into the lungs of the patient.
- Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia - pneumonia is an infection of the lungs. Pneumonia that develops after a patient is placed on a ventilator is called ventilator-associated pneumonia.